We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student safety

Personal safety

A fun social life is all part of the university experience but it is important that you take responsibility for yourself. Here are some simple steps you can take to stay safe when out, especially at night:

  • Let someone know where you are going
  • Plan ahead and know how you are going to get home at the end of a night out
  • Take a mobile phone with you
  • Ensure you have the numbers of some local taxi firms
  • Always leave a restaurant/club/pub with a friend or group of friends. Do not walk home alone or let others do so
  • Carry a personal alarm with you
  • Do not walk home by the river at night
  • Use the Students’ Union Nightbus service in Durham City

Look out for each other in College and when living out and if you have any concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a friend contact your College office immediately.

Walking home at night?

Download the Night Lights map and see the lit routes to follow when walking home.

Durham University is a safe place to live, work and study

We take the safety and well being of our students seriously and work closely with Durham Constabulary to foster good links with the Police and local community. Police Community Support Officer Sean Tindale (PCSO 8202), is Durham Constabulary's Police University Liaison Officer working alongside PC Gary Thompson. They visit each of the Colleges during Induction Week to offer advice and information on how to keep yourself and your property safe.

Find out more about the role of Police University Liaison Offer as PC Tindale introduces himself and welcomes you to Durham here.

Drinking responsibly

If drinking alcohol on a night out, do drink responsibly. Try to eat before you go out and drink plenty of water or a soft drink between alcoholic drinks. Keep track of what you’re drinking as well as how much. Do not leave your drink unattended.

The National Union of Students (NUS) provides some really useful advice on drinking responsibly and the NHS Choice’s guide to alcohol provides information on topics such as alcohol units, tracking your drinking, and advice on hangover cures.

The University has a specific Policy on Student Alcohol Awareness and Use.

River safety

In Durham City and at Queen’s Campus we are very lucky to have the natural beauty of the River Wear and River Tees and to be able to use them for water sport activities but it is important to remember that rivers can be dangerous. Take care at all times around the rivers but especially avoid walking along riverbanks during hazardous weather conditions or after nights out drinking. Never mess around near the rivers.

Students who recklessly endanger their own lives (and those of others) in this way are likely to be committing a disciplinary offence which could have serious repercussions for their studies.

Keeping your belongings safe

There are some obvious steps you can take to keep your possessions safe, such as closing and locking all doors and windows when you leave your college room or your house/flat, ensuring that you keep cash and valuables out of sight in accommodation and avoiding using your mobile phone in isolated places. Unfortunately crime cannot be completely prevented but you can ensure you have adequate personal belongings insurance, that you mark your possessions with a UV pen and that you register the serial numbers of your electronic equipment on (a free UK-wide national property register supported and used by the UK police forces).

The NUS’s “The Lock” campaign also provides some practical advice and guidance on minimising some risks to your own personal safety.

Sexual health

The NHS Choices hub on sexual health provides information on topics such as contraception, sex and young people, STIs and chlamydia. If you want to talk to someone about sexual health you should make an appointment at one of the healthcare or GP Services in Durham or Stockton

Online safety

The internet and social media are increasingly a large part of student life, used for organising events, sharing news and researching work. It is therefore important to consider your personal online safety and to protect your personal details. Here are a few tips on online safety:

  • Check your privacy settings on social media
  • Choose secure passwords and don’t have the same one for all of your email or online accounts
  • Think about what personal information you have online and whether it is necessary for it to be there
  • Be on your guard for requests to confirm or supply account or personal information
  • Be careful not to overshare information on your movements – highlighting that you are going to be away from your accommodation could provide an opportunity for thieves
  • Never post comments that are abusive or may cause offence to either individuals or groups of society.

Some basic information on IT security can be found on the Computing and Information Services web pages.

Other sources of information and advice

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust gives some tips on personal safety.

Police advice to Freshers leaving home for the first time on how to keep themselves and their belongings safe.

The Complete University Guide’s top tips for staying safe.

Nightline is a confidential, non-advisory, non-judgemental, non-directive listening service, run by students, for students. It is open every night of term between 9pm and 7am. Their number is on the back of your Campus Card and their Skype name is durham.nightline.

Emergency contact numbers


  • Fire, Police, Ambulance, emergency: 999
  • University Emergency (24 hours): +44 (0)191 334 3333
  • University Security Office (24 hours): +44 (0)191 334 2222
  • Durham Police: 0845 6060365